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Performing arts

Studio sound engineer

Sound engineers work in studios and make recordings of music, speech and sound effects.

Annual Salary

£17,000 to £40,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; as customers demand

Future employment

There will be 0.5% more Studio sound engineer jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you could:

  • plan recording sessions with producers and artists
  • set up microphones and equipment in the studio
  • make sure the volume and recording levels are set correctly
  • operate recording equipment and add effects
  • record each instrument or vocal onto a separate track
  • mix tracks to produce a final 'master' track
  • log recordings and other details of the session in the studio archive

Working environment

You could work at a recording studio.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • specialist courses run by private training providers

You could do a foundation degree or degree in:

  • sound engineering and production
  • audio engineering
  • music production
  • electrical and electronics engineering

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information

You could take a college course like:

  • Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sound Engineering
  • Level 3 Diploma in Creative Media Production and Technology
  • Level 3 Diploma in Music Technology
  • T Level in Media, Broadcast and Production

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T Level
For more information

You could apply for an apprenticeship to start training in this job. These include:

  • Creative Industries Production Technician Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship
  • Assistant Recording Technician Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship
  • Audio Visual Technician Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship
  • Broadcast and Media Systems Engineer Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
For more information

You could start as a runner or an assistant in a recording studio and work your way up.

Volunteering and work experience

You can work on community music events, DJ projects, hospital or community radio, or mix and record music in a home studio and post your work online.

Other routes

You could do short courses offered by private training providers to build up your skills and knowledge.

More information

Career tips

This is a job where getting experience and making contacts is important to help you to find work.

You'll need a good knowledge of music and recording technology. You may also find it useful to understand physics and electronics.

Further information

You can find out more about working in sound engineering from Joint Audio Media Education Support (JAMES).

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With experience, many studio sound engineers go freelance. You could specialise in a particular technical skill, become a music producer, studio manager, or even start your own recording studio.

You can find out more about working in sound engineering from Joint Audio Media Education Support and Creative Choices.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • persistence and determination
  • customer service skills
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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